State legislators turn attention to ethics in wake of McDonnell gift scandal.
As members of the Virginia General Assembly convene for the first time since last February, legislators are stampeding to introduce ethics legislation in response to the gift scandal which engulfed then Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R). The revelations last spring about numerous undisclosed gifts and purported loans from businessman Jonnie Williams to McDonnell — including a $6,500 Rolex watch engraved to the "71st Governor of Virginia" and $35,000 in gifts and catering for his daughters’ weddings — shined a spotlight on Virginia’s porous financial disclosure laws.
Supervisor John Foust running for Democratic nomination, Republican nominee still up in the air.
After 34 years of representing constituents in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10) announced Dec. 17 that he would not seek reelection to the House of Representatives seat he has occupied for 17 terms. Wolf expressed his appreciation toward his family, staff and all of his constituents who supported his efforts in office.
The Republican Women of Clifton (RWC) launches its New Year program with two speakers: Louisiana state senator Elbert Guillory, who will talk about the "Presidential Report Card, a review of the President's Performance on National Policy," and Peggy Nienaber, Chief of Program for Faith and Action as well as President of the Capitol Hill Executive Service Club, whose topic is "Changing the hearts and minds of elected officials on Capitol Hill."
Proposed bills and priorities include ethics reform and ABC Transformation.
As the General Assembly convenes on Jan. 8, several delegates from Fairfax County have written bills that tackle some of the issues they believe are important to Virginians. Del. Dave Albo (R-42) proposed a bill that would get rid of the Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s three person board and would replace them with five citizens with business experience who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state legislature. Members of the current three-person board make six-digit salaries and are appointed by the governor. Albo’s plan would make the position part time and would pay 50 dollars per day.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova discusses the issues she sees taking center stage in the county in the coming year.
Q&A with Supervisors Pat Herrity (R- Springfield) and Jeffrey McKay (D-Lee).
Q: What were some successes of 2013? A: Transportation updates. The Fairfax County Parkway will have interstate level traffic in the next 10 years, if not already. We need to work on the long-term solution. I was able to get the Board of Supervisors to pass the requested corridor improvement study. We’ve got the study underway for the Pope’s Head Road interchange on the parkway, and those are both really big things. I also asked the Board to take a look at Braddock Road and changing it into a primary road.
Q&A with Del. Dave Albo (R-42).
Q: What do you think was a major success of 2013? A: The transportation bill was not only the most important bill of 2013, but the second most important bill we’ve passed in my twenty years in the General Assembly. We found a solution that lets us keep 100 percent of our money.
Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) talks about what he believes will be the top issues this year in Fairfax County:
Q&A with delegates David Bulova (D-37) and Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41).
Q: What were some successes in 2013? A: The big one from last year was transportation, and it would be great to keep that momentum going into 2014. I see 2014 as being a potentially very productive year and a way to differentiate Virginia from the federal government and the gridlock we are seeing up there.
Q&A with Supervisor John Cook (R-Braddock District).
Braddock District Supervisor John Cook, left, thinks that education funding should be a top priority for Virginia legislators this section.
Supervisor John w. Foust (D-Dranesville) reflects on most important events in McLean and Great Falls in 2013 and 2014.
Supervisor John W. Foust (D-Dranesville): *TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PLAN HB2313 - A significant event affecting the community in 2013 was the passage of HB2313 with bi-partisan support. This bill was the first comprehensive transportation plan passed in Virginia in 27 years.
State Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31) highlights the following legislative priority issues: *Safety Net: Retain McDonnell’s $1.6 M for extension of subsidies to foster youth and adopted youth until the age of 21. *Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) --- Index benefits to the COL Adjustment as determined by the Department of Labor (Need Budget Amendment as well). This helps women and children. Families stay an average of 3 years on TANF. The caseload has been decreasing in Virginia and $5M was shifted in the last biennium from TANF block grant dollars to funds General Fund services.
Delegate Barbara Comstock (R-34) was named Chairwoman of the House Science and Technology Committee by Speaker Bill Howell (R-28). Howell said, "Barbara Comstock is one of the brightest and most energetic lawmakers in the General Assembly. She has worked tirelessly on issues important to Northern Virginia and the entire Commonwealth. For years she has been a leader on issues related to economic development and technology. This experience and knowledge will make her a great Chairwoman."
Four candidates vying to replace Chris Zimmerman.
Where do they stand on the streetcar? Do they approve of the recent direction of the county government? What kind of accomplishments would they like to make?
How to provide students new education resources at no charge.
On Dec. 2, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) co-hosted a forum with David Anderson, executive director for Higher Education, Association of American Publishers and Nada Dabbagh, professor and director of Division of Learning Technologies, George Mason University to discuss new technologies and affordable options for higher education textbooks. This forum brought together several important stakeholders involved with higher education and the development and usage of textbooks.